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Sunday, December 22, 2013


by Jim Bartruff

My grandfather's panel, from his decadence,
signed by the ghost who dreamed the three,
Buck Rogers, Wilma, Ming the Merciless,
the terrorist, the victim and the steel,
eternal metaphors of Snow and Spring
and her fertility between the two,
he kept for the imaginary stress
depicted on the three-dot color pane
of Sunday luxury, his time abroad
recanted with the War, because the line
was like the line cartographers had drawn
with politicians sleeker than my uncle,
another yellowed relic we displayed
in stills from slightly overhead to show
his hair in disarray, already dead
the man beneath the bare place on his head,
walked down the aisle with white gloves on each arm
like ice on maples, and the tree a bride
defiled and veiled in black instead of white,
and so disposed of as her village would,
dissected from the revolution's arms,
assassination as the mark of Cain
on every generation of his line.

With famine as the rigor of our faith,
and falling in the withered field as belief
no longer potent proofs or martyrdom,
and truth a cartoon inked, re-inked, erased,
we see the ray-gun at Buck's side,
and see it through a holocaust of snow,
as solid you see me while the old
impediments and those they raised go down,
so we in freedom may proceed in strength
developing a ray-gun that will work,
and hold Buck bayed, while Ming moves toward the girl.

Jim Bartruff's work has appeared in Canto, Westwind, Barney, Marilyn, Drastic Measures.  He is a past winner of the William Carlos Williams and Academy of American Poets prizes.  A third-generation native of Los Angeles, he was previously a print journalist and screenwriter, now living in Portland, Oregon.